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Soundtrack review: Mission:impossible II (Hans Zimmer – 2002)

Composer of the month Franchises Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: Mission:impossible II (Hans Zimmer – 2002)


“Mission:impossible II” is my favorite out of the four movies in the franchise. I found it to be the most exciting and John Woo’s direction had a lot to do with that.  It’s a movie I always watch again with pleasure.

Hans Zimmer’s score is just as the movie: enjoyable, alert, nothing too deep or too challenging to listen to. It moves fast, it follows the plot, and I always name it among the most underrated Zimmer scores. Most of it is based on simple Spanish guitar rhythms, refreshing like a summer cocktail. He brought some of his frequent collaborators to help: Klaus Badelt and Nick Glennie Smith helped with orchestration; Heitor Pareira plays on Nyah’s theme while Lisa Gerrard brings magic to “Seville”, “Injection” and “Mano a mano”. She contributes to my favorite cues from this score, the ones that go beyond simple action music.

In fact, I am only going to talk about “Injection”. This cue is so above and beyond anything else on this score that it deserves this special treatment. I will go even further and say that, in context, it’s probably in my top 10 ever from Hans Zimmer. The cue itself is vintage Zimmer / Gerrard, and a brilliant composition. However, the combination between this cue and the scene from the movie is what makes it perfect. It’s the turning point of the movie, a dance between three characters, with split decisions, brilliant cinematography, unexpected turns and an explosive conclusion. I know the scene by heart, I know what Ethan, Nyah and Amborse say and the “Injection” scene wouldn’t have been complete without Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard finding again that perfect synchrony. The cue moves in the same rhythm as the scene, it stops exactly where the scene does and picks up when it needs to. I cannot imagine the on screen images and the music separate; I don’t think they ever were, I think that when they were filming the scene the sounds were being born at the same pace.

Other than that, I’ll mention “Bare island”, which is another epic track, with a powerful chorus and also the famous Lalo Schifrin “Mission impossible theme” inserted in an electric guitar version, “Mano a mano” with the haunting voice of Lisa in the background, and “Nyah and Ehtan”, a beautiful Spanish tune.

“M:I II” brought “Injection”, and there’s no way I am ever going to forget this score.

Cue rating: 69 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 22 / 46

Album excellence: 49%




Bare Island

Mano A Mano

Nyah And Ethan

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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